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Square, The

Director:  Ruben Östlund
Year Released:  2017
Rating:  2.0

Modern art museum curator Christian (Claes Bang) is working on setting up a new exhibit, titled "The Square," which is intended to be about inclusion and trust and positivity, but the PR stunt for it (a YouTube video of a child that explodes) backfires - on a personal level he's also unraveling, as he has to locate his stolen cell phone, cuff links and wallet (which were snagged by vandals in broad daylight) and fend off one-night stand Anne (Elizabeth Moss), who wants a relationship. Östlund strikes me as an 'idea guy,' someone who comes up with all these great little bits - the spiraling staircase a la Hitchcock, the "gorilla man" performance art piece-gone-bad, the post-coital used-condom argument - but has no clue how to assemble them into a cohesive narrative, figuring he'll loosely staple together the bits and hope it holds (it doesn't). I presume he's attempting to make some grand statement about social issues in his native Sweden, centering around immigration, tolerance and censorship, but merely bringing up (controversial) subject areas isn't the same as working towards pragmatic solutions. A little focus goes a long way: this is easily three movies crammed into one.

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